Kortrijk v Sint-Truiden
Saturday 5th February – 3:15PM KO
Kortrijk welcome Sint-Truiden to the French border in the first game we’ll be looking at this weekend in Belgian football. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it will be a classic, however we can certainly still extract some great value out of this one. Kortrijk have just been pushed out of the play-off positions, and with Genk beneath them having games in hand, they will know they need to take advantage and put points on the board quickly to remain in contention for European football next season. Sint-Truiden look to be just a little too far off the pace, but they could well sneak in if they can put a solid run of wins together between now and the end of the season.
No team in the division has seen under 2.5 goals in games more than Kortrijk, their total of 67%, 16 games being more than any side by a large margin of 11%. They also tend to score less at home than they do on the road, scoring 1.18 goals per game at the Guldensporenstadion, compared to 1.31 on the road. This selection would have landed in five of their last six games at home, and also in five of their last six games overall. Having scored just 13 goals at home all season, there is little to show that this will change today.
Sint-Truiden are also seeing few goals per game this season, with 48% of their fixtures seeing under 2.5 goals, something unexpected in such a high-scoring league. For away games, they have the second-highest percentage of games with less than three goals, at 67%. They last scored more than once away from home on September 25th, with under 2.5 landing in five of the last seven overall and six of their last seven away from home. With just nine goals scored away from home all season, and just 42% of their away games have seen both sides find the back of the net.
Everything points towards a low-scoring game here, and the price is very generous considering all these facts. Neither side is hugely stronger than the other, and neither side finds themselves involved in high-scoring games very often. Under 2.5 goals looks to be highly likely here, and although I prefer to tip games where goals are likely, I can’t ignore the odds being offered here.
Prediction: Under 2.5 Goals, 1.85 on Betfair (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)
Oostende v OH Leuven
Saturday 5th February – 5:30PM KO
OH Leuven make the trip across Belgium to coastal Ostend in the other game I’m looking at on Saturday, and thankfully this one should see plenty of goals. Both sides are currently in and around the relegation play-off spot, with six teams all between two and five points clear of Seraing in 17th place. They are all relatively evenly matched, and we frequently see high-scoring games in which they all take points off each other, preventing any one of them making a push towards the top-eight.
Oostende’s games at the Versluys Arena this season has been one of the best places to watch Belgian football this season, with 75% of these games seeing over 2.5 goals. Eight of the last nine games have seen three or more goals, with the one that didn’t having two goals. Seven of their previous nine games at home have seen Oostende scoring, and in five of these games De Kustboys have scored twice or more. We shouldn’t be relying on Oostende alone for the three goals we need either, with 58% of their home games this season seeing both sides find the back of the net.
OH Leuven have seen over 2.5 goals land in 67% of their away games. Overall, only three teams have seen over 2.5 goals in more than the 61% of games that Leuven can claim. Both teams to score is extremely common in Leuven’s away games, the joint-highest in the division. Six of the last seven away games have seen over 2.5 goals, with the East Belgian side scoring in all of their previous eight away games, and scoring twice or more in four of those eight.
When both sides’ average goals per game are combined, we get a figure of 3.38 goals, the second-highest for any game in the top-flight of Belgian football this weekend. Goals seem to be almost inevitable here, and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see even more than three goals, so hopefully this one will be closed out relatively comfortably.
Prediction: Over 2.5 Goals, 1.65 on Betfair (⭐⭐⭐⭐)
KV Mechelen v Beerschot
Sunday 6th February – 3:00PM KO
Our first Sunday game takes us to the AFAS-stadion in Mechelen, where De Kakkers play host to bottom-of-the-league Beerschot, who are ten points adrift of the side in 17th place, Seraing. As most teams will expect when the Purple and Whites come to visit, Mechelen really should be taking all three points here, up against a Beerschot side who have not won away from home all season. Mechelen meanwhile are firmly in the hunt for European football, and really cannot afford to be dropping points here.
Mechelen have taken 10 points from the last 15 available at home, which puts them sixth in the league for home form, and no side enjoys a greater home advantage than the Yellow-Reds in recent weeks, taking 1.92 points per game at home, but just 1.18 away. They will know full well that this weaker away form could cost them in a tight battle for the top-eight and that dropping points in what is on paper the easiest game of the season is unthinkable.
Beerschot have very little in the way of positive statistics this season, and their record of conceding 2.45 goals per game away from home is particularly unfortunate. They also concede 2.12xGA (expected goals against), the worst in the division, which shows they have not been unlucky this year but are just plainly not very good defensively. Their last five away games have seen them lose four and draw one, the draw coming on November 6th. In this period they have lost to 17th placed Seraing, 16th placed Zulte-Waregem and the only team currently on a worse run than themselves, Eupen. They have kept a clean sheet just once away from home all season.
The last meeting was 3-0 to Mechelen and there is very little to suggest that scoreline can’t be repeated here. Anything other than a Mechelen win will be a big surprise, with their biggest opponents here being themselves, if they turn up they will win, and the odds on offer for this to happen simply can’t be ignored when looking for great value selections in Belgian football this weekend.
Prediction: KV Mechelen to Win, 1.83 on Betfair (⭐⭐⭐⭐)
Anderlecht v Eupen
Sunday 6th February – 5:30PM KO
The next Sunday fixture is a similarly unbalanced game, in which fourth-placed Anderlecht face off against Eupen, who despite snagging some draws in recent games continue to drop down the league. They have lost five of their last seven games, although in fairness it hasn’t been the easiest run of fixtures. Prior to these two draws in their last two away games, they had lost their previous six, and Anderlecht will be confident of securing a win here.
Anderlecht are one of the high-scorers in the league this season, averaging 2.17 goals per game, an impressive record that is beaten only by Genk who average 2.18. They have lost their previous two games but this should not be a mark against them, they lost 2-0 to Cercle Brugge having played with 10 men for an hour, and were beaten by the runaway league leaders Union Saint-Gilloise last time out. That game against Cercle was the first time all season they failed to score at Lotto Park, and the 1.9xG generated in home games this year shows that they are not overperforming, and their high-scoring is sustainable, and this minor blip should be overcome soon, and a game against one of the worst-performing teams in the division is the perfect place to start.
Eupen meanwhile have failed to score in 38% of their away games, and have only scored once in their last six games. They have conceded an average of 1.54 goals per game away from home, keeping just clean sheets away from home. They slightly outperform their xGA which is 1.69, but again the similarity of these numbers suggest it is no fluke that they have been shipping plenty of goals in recent games, especially away from home, and a team which concedes many goals could think of few worse places to be visiting than Lotto Park.
Coincidentally, these two sides will have faced off in the Belgian Cup on Thursday, and with Eupen having little to play for, they may choose to focus heavily on the cup tie at the expense of the league game, and this should further play into our hands while we hope for an Anderlecht win.
Prediction: Anderlecht to Win, 1.33 on Betfair (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)
Genk v Zulte-Waregem
Sunday 6th February – 8:00PM KO
Another game which seems likely to provide plenty of goals is our final game of this weekend in Belgian football, where potentially the most fun side to watch in the entire league, Zulte-Waregem face off with high-scoring Genk. Waregem average a spectacular 3.67 goals per game this season, whilst hosts Genk trail slightly behind with 3.52. Some of the league’s top scorers will feature here, with 13-goal Ebere Onuachu for the hosts and the fantastic striking partnership Zinho Gano (12 goals) and Jelle Vossen (14 goals), who new manager Timmy Simons has converted into a number 10 so he can use his favoured 4-2-3-1 system.
First, the Smurfs, as they are sometimes known, have seen 65% of their games feature goals for both sides which is the third-highest amount in the division. They have kept only four clean sheets in 25 league games this season. Their 2.18 goals per game at home really should see them further up the table than the modest 10th that they current find themselves in, but their defensive record is what is letting them down most, and their huge goals per game average is only so high as they cannot keep the ball out of their own net.
Zulte-Waregem top the league in terms of games which have seen both teams scoring, a totally of 75%, with the same figure also applying to their home and away games individually, showcasing remarkable consistency. They are joint-last in the division for clean sheets, securing just three all season so far, though they are eighth in the division for goals scored, impressive for a team in 16th. No side has conceded more than Waregem’s 52 in 24 games however, not even Beerschot who are marooned at the foot of the table.
Waregem’s two top scorers are clearly keeping their season alive this year, but with both featuring amongst the top 7 players in the league for goals scored, no defence will fancy their chances of keeping a clean sheet despite their lowly position. Their own defence should provide Genk plenty of opportunities to score, but they will be confident that they can hit back at least once themselves.
Prediction: Both Teams to Score, 1.62 on Betfair (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)
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